Johann Sebastian Bach – Murray Perahia – Keyboard Concertos Nos. 3, 5-7 (2002) {PS3 ISO +FLAC}

Johann Sebastian Bach – Keyboard Concertos Nos. 3, 5-7
Academy of St. Martin in the Fields / Murray Perahia
SACD ISO (Stereo): 2,16 GB | 24B/88,2kHz Stereo FLAC: 917 MB | Artwork
Label/Cat#: Sony Classical # SS 89690 | Country/Year: Europe 2002 | 5% Recovery Info
Genre: Classical | Style: Baroque

Perahia doing Bach, as Perahia does Bach: very clean and very smooth. Very un-Gould. If Gould uses the piano to try and emulate the detached sound of a harpsichord (always sans pedal), Perahia is almost the opposite. Having said so, the sound Perahia achieves in the second movement (largo) of Concerto No. 5 (BWV 1056) is simply fabulous … one of my favourite piano sounds on SACD (after the Tchetuev Schnittke SACD on Caro Mitis). Beautifully recorded.

I may be wrong, but it does sound to my ear as though the piano has been tuned below A = 440 Hz. The sound is slightly flat to my ear, though not to the extent that one would find in an authentic instrument recording. There is no mention in the programme notes to this effect.

Perahia’s Goldberg variations on SACD is now almost impossible to find, and this SACD seems to be heading the same way, so grab it while you can. Highly recommended.

1.The so-called Concerto No. 6 is derived from the harpsichord continuo part in Brandenburg No.4 … and I think it is the first time I have actually heard this played on the piano rather than the harpsichord. In this instance alone, I am not sure that the transition to pianoforte is successful.


Alexander Scriabin – Vers la Flamme: Works for solo piano – Vladimir Ashkenazy (2015) [Official Digital Download 24bit/96kHz]

Alexander Scriabin – Vers la Flamme: Works for solo piano – Vladimir Ashkenazy (2015)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/96kHz | Time – 01:18:43 minutes | 1,28 GB | Genre: Classical
Official Digital Download – Source: | © Decca
Recorded: Potton Hall, Suffolk, 4 & 5 September, 29, 30 November & 1 December 2014

Vladimir Ashkenazy turns to the fine art of the piano miniature in this album, unlocking the poetic expression and vibrant colours of forty exquisite pieces by Alexander Scriabin (1872–1915). Vers la flame, released in April 2015 to mark the centenary of Scriabin’s death, opens with the C sharp minor Étude Op.2 No.1, written during its composer’s mid-teens, and comprises such late masterworks as the album’s title track and the five Préludes Op.74.

“… Reflective and sometimes indulgent, very much viewing these pieces through the prism of Romanticism rather than that of modernism. Ashkenazy is at his most winning in the early Chopinesque pieces, the Mazurkas Op 3, the “Studies” Op 8 and Op 42 especially, but his account of the phantasmagoric “Vers la Flamme”, which gives the disc its title, as well as the set of late Preludes Op 74, are thrillingly persuasive, too, and he adds a Prelude by Yulian Alexandrovich Scriabin, the composer’s son, who was drowned in 1919 at the age of 11, as a touching epilogue.” —Andrew Clements, The Guardian


Sergei Prokofiev – Cello Concerto Op. 58; Dmitri Shostakovich – Cello Concerto No. 1 Op. 107 – Steven Isserlis, Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra, Paavo Jarvi (2015) [Official Digital Download 24bit/48kHz]

Sergei Prokofiev – Cello Concerto Op. 58; Dmitri Shostakovich – Cello Concerto No. 1 Op. 107 – Steven Isserlis, Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra, Paavo Jarvi (2015)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/48kHz | Time – 01:05:17 minutes | 657 MB | Genre: Classical
Official Digital Download – Source: hyperion-records | © Hyperion Records
Recorded: in Frankfurt Radio Hall on 3–4 July 2013 (Shostakovich) and Alte Oper Frankfurt on 12–13 December 2013 (Prokofiev Concerto and March, live recording)

The blurbs advertising this album have it wrong: Shostakovich’s blazing Cello Concerto No. 1 in E flat major, Op. 107, was not a “response” to Prokofiev’s Cello Concerto in E minor, Op. 58, but to its reworking, the Symphony-Concerto for cello and orchestra in E minor, Op. 125. As cellist Steven Isserlis points out in his excellent and enthusiastic notes, it’s not even clear that Shostakovich knew the earlier version, which had a rocky performance history. The original concerto and the Symphony-Concerto are very different works, with the Cello Concerto’s giant final set of variations essentially sliced in half and greatly simplified. The earlier work, spiky and difficult, makes a good counterpoint to the Shostakovich, one of the works in which he most perfectly married virtuosity to the grim gloom that animates so much of Shostakovich’s later work. This concerto does have a real rip-roaring finale that Isserlis manages without a hint that he’s doing anything less than having fun. But the real find here is the Prokofiev, which although championed by Mstislav Rostropovich has not often been played. It’s a piece that demands the cellist wrestle with its dramatic contrasts in the variation set, and here again Isserlis, with clean backing from the Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra under Paavo Järvi, excels. A strong release with a neglected Russian concerto of the 20th century.

Review by James Manheim


Omnibus Wind Ensemble – Music By Frank Zappa (1995/2014) [Official Digital Download DSF Stereo DSD128/5.64MHz]

Omnibus Wind Ensemble – Music By Frank Zappa (1995/2014)
DSF Stereo DSD128/5.64MHz  | Time – 01:05:23 minutes | 5.17 GB | Genre: Avant-Garde, Jazz, Classical
Official Digital Download – Source: | ©  Opus 3 Records
Recorded: June 1994 – June 1995; Mastered at Sony Music Studios, London

The Omnibus Wind Ensemble’s interest in Frank Zappa’s music dates back to the beginning of the 1980s, almost from the very beginning. Under the motto “From Mozart to Zappa”, which also became the title of their first, widely acclaimed CD under the Opus 3 label, they have had many of Frank Zappa’s compositions on their repertoire over the years.
The music of Frank Zappa has always defied classification, and those who have not studied it closely perhaps do not realize how much jazz and classical music it contains. (Zappa composed a percussion piece when he was only 15!) Arguably, Frank Zappa is one of this century’s most interesting composers and perhaps the best kept musical secret in the USA.
The Omnibus CD “Music By Frank Zappa” is a grand tour of his music – from the beautiful “Peaches En Regalia”, the highly complex “Revised Music For A Low Budget Orchestra”, the outstandingly humorous “Brown Shoes Don’t Make It” to the jazz-bluesy introduction etc. of “Inca Roads”, with all the fireworks that follow it!
Also included are: How Could I Be Such A Fool, Let’s Make The Water Turn Black, The Black Page No 2, No 7, Igor’s Boogie, Be-Bop Tango, Alien Orifice, Dog Breath Variations, Uncle Meat and Sinister Footwear and 2nd Movement. The CD ends with a piece which was not written by Frank Zappa, namely Maurice Ravel’s “Bolero” here in a big-band-influenced special arrangement inspired by Zappa’s own version from 1988. Classical, Jazz or Rock!?